Dirk Skreber's Untitled (Camouflage Battledress) is a painting filled with such an array of demonstrably painterly gestures and technical ability that it proclaims itself to be a contemporary artistic construction. Skreber's usual subject matter of trains, car crashes, buildings and landscapes appears to have shifted in this work - the portrayal of schematically set battleships with thick lines of oil paint stretching accross the canvas.
The greyish tones of Untitled (Camouflage Battledress) project a sense of dread and stillness. They capture the idea of maritime mechanisation reminiscent of his train paintings which acknowledge similar thick linear brushstrokes as 'tracks'. The monumental picture and its combination of figuraton and geometric linear compositions create a disjointed effect within the picture surface. The thick linear stripes disrupt the picture plane in the same way that camouflage disrupts the outline of an object. With the idea of art being an illusion of the real object it depicts, Skreber uses these camouflaged battleships as illusion in this picture, making them almost unrecognisable to the eye. The textural qualities of the paint used to create the two layers of the painting - first acrylic for the ghostly depiction of the battleships and the second oil the rich bulky lines - allow for a textural clash, so that the tension between the abstract and the representational achieves an air of assemblage.
Skreber's Untitled (Camouflage Battledress) exudes an enchanted uncanny sense of motionlessness, as he captures this frozen marine scene. Its concrete subject matter remains obscured - there appears to be no beginning and no end to the painting, as its parallels seem continuous. The colours and the composition of the painting introduce an eerie tone and a strange frankness, which paradoxically subvert the act of artistic representation, while drawing attention to the effects of a strident militarism that we are now forced to confront daily on our television screens.